Cassie Kernick

It has now been more than a month since January started, made obvious by the fact that it’s February, and by this time all the New Year’s resolutioners should be long gone from the gym, right?


The Campus Recreation Center is still perpetually packed. While it is awesome that so many students and faculty are looking to improve themselves physically, the cramped conditions and long wait for a machine are rather unfortunate.

Sadly, I do not think the crowds will drop off soon seeing as spring break is right around the corner. I am not on a crash course to get in shape for spring break – I am simply trying to make a consistent lifestyle adaptation. However, the throngs of giggling girls who come to the gym scantily clad only to model on the machines will not let me forget that spring break is coming fast. If I had a dollar for the amount of times I’ve heard a girl yell “beach bodies” to her friend as encouragement, I would have enough money to buy some Tums to settle the nausea these Barbies induce upon me.

I am not trying to sound bitter, but there is a certain unspoken list of gym etiquette that a lot of students could profit from hearing. Even if one thinks their gym etiquette is up to par, everyone could benefit from a few tricks to help survive the Rec during these congested times. So whether one is a fitness guru or if one is the giggling girl I’ve referred to above, below I have listed nine tips to help survive the Rec this winter.

1. Wear appropriate clothing: “Oh my god Jill, I really love to lift, but boys always stare at me.” One of the largest reasons girls I know do not use free weights is because they don’t like how the males in the weight room stare at them. This is a valid concern. However, if one is wearing full body spandex to the gym, it really is no wonder why “creepy-eyes-Clark” is staring at you. Yes, it makes sense to wear tank tops when lifting. I understand wanting to watch ones muscle engage. But please exercise common sense with your clothing choices and stop wearing crop tops to the gym only to complain about being a center for stares.

2. Go at weird times: This may seem like common sense. However, I’ve noticed that “odd” hours at a college rec center are different than those at a normal gym. If at all possible, go before 3 p.m. or after 10 p.m. The likelihood of getting to use a machine plummets between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. During those hours, avoid that place like it is a tuberculosis hospital. Do not go. However, if one has a cramped schedule that prohibits this kind of selectivity most days, see tips three, four and five.

3. Lockers: The different sized day lockers are really convenient, and better yet, they are free. Free is awesome, but during the winter months, renting a locker may be something to splurge on. And when I say splurge I mean spend $2, $5 or $6.50 monthly depending upon the size. There is an initial $10 deposit to make sure pirates do not steal the lock. But upon return you get the deposit back. Having one’s own locker can save time waiting for a day locker and the larger sizes can fit snow boots and a backpack. This gives one more time to work out and less time wasted acting like a vulture for a locker to free up.

4. FitCard: Another trick to beating the crowd is to buy a fit card. It only costs $33 for the semester and gives one access to classes like Zumba, cardio sculpt, cycling and many others that are offered throughout the day making it easy to find a class that works for one’s schedule. If you prefer yoga and Pilates, you need a separate YogaPass is needed. This is a tad more pricey at $61 for the semester, but if that’s what it takes to get your butt to the gym it’s likely worth it. Purchasing both passes grants a slight price cut at only $86 for both. Ultimately, it’s whatever floats you boat and whatever it will take to get to the gym.

5. Super circuit: The super circuit is upstairs by the cycling room and the cardio zone. This is the perfect workout for those on a tight schedule or those who simply are tired of being ogled when they lift free weights. Some days I go through once and then follow up with cardio. Other days I do the circuit twice through when I really want to feel the burn. I get in and out efficiently, and I still get a great workout in. I think this is one of the most under-utilized services the Rec has to offer, so go check it out.

6. Have a go-to playlist: Beastie Boys, Justin Timberlake, The Arctic Monkeys and Britney Spears are all artists on my workout playlist. A perfectly timed playlist can make the difference from only being able to run for about 30 seconds to actually finishing the three miles I set out to do that day. I know some people think music is for the weak, but I don’t. I think anything that can make me smile and do a little jig while gasping for air is a must. Just pick whatever is motivational, no shame!

7. Plan ahead: I think the biggest key to surviving the Rec is planning. Know exactly why you are going and what you hopes to accomplish, and then do it. Don’t wait to figure it out there or it’s likely one will be forever lost in a time warp of meat heads and skinny bitches. Always have a mission.

8. Let go of your pride: What is pride? I sure as hell don’t know anymore. I’m the one at the gym who trips on the elliptical, can’t get the pin into the weight machine and often times has to take a knee in yoga because I simply can’t do the moves. If I were easily embarrassed, I would have become disheartened weeks ago. However, I have given up any illusion that I’m someone who will ever look “suave” or “in shape” while working out and that makes life much easier now. Just like the song in “Frozen” says, “let it go.”

9. Go with a friend: But don’t giggle. If the gym still feels like a scary place, it is okay to bring a friend for moral support. Workout partners can be a great tool in keeping one accountable and making the gym a little more fun. However, when bringing a friend turns into chatting about one’s most recent relationship problems rather than actually lifting, ditch them. It is no longer beneficial, and likely, one has just made themselves the most despised person at the Rec.

And that’s all she wrote, folks. Moral of the story is go to the gym. Just go. It may feel like you are going through withdrawal at first, but after a few weeks, you will be feeling healthier and happier, I promise.